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Early-Stage Investment Fund Passion Capital Launches

MBM Commercial have helped to establish another Enterprise Capital Fund – Passion Capital.  

This is the largest Enterprise Capital Fund to have been established to date.  It was done in record time with the mandate being awarded over the Christmas holiday period and the Fund was closed by the end of the last fiscal year.

The Fund is a digital media fund and the three Managing Partners all have an exceptional track record in this area.  The Fund will provide a vibrant and dynamic 7,500 sq ft co-working space with access to the exceptional skills and contacts of the Managing Partners.  

This is the tenth Enterprise Capital Fund to have been launched by Capital for Enterprise and it is the third in which we have been involved.

Press Release:

Early stage investment firm Passion Capital has announced its first investment fund closing at £37.5 million ($60 million). Partners Stefan Glaenzer, Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero will invest in ambitious entrepreneurs who have global ambition with early stage digital media and technology startups. This new fund will help address the increasing demand by early stage founders and teams for seed capital – at the most critical range of the equity and funding gap for SMEs.

The team secured significant funding from the private sector, validating interest and appetite from family funds and high net-worth individuals for supporting high tech startups. The UK Government has also invested £25 million, in this the tenth Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF) launched since the programme began in 2006.

Stefan Glaenzer said “We’re passionate about innovation and disruption and building world-leading companies – not just about "models”. And our success in raising this fund shows the confidence from private investors and the UK Government in our track record and vision."

Prior to establishing the fund the three partners have been intimately and directly involved as either founder or earliest executive/employee in 4 of the most significant European technology success stories (measured by market cap on exit) over the last 10 years (Ricardo.de, Skype, Last.fm, QXL/Tradus).

Stefan added, “We believe working with early-stage startups is as challenging and exciting as it gets, and more crucially we've gone through it ourselves.  At the end of the day, commercial success all comes down to the passion and executional abilities of the entrepreneurs.”

Rory Earley, CEO of Capital for Enterprise Limited said: “We have been impressed by the Passion Capital team’s entrepreneurial and operational experience, track record of success as angel investors and history of supporting SMEs.  We are delighted that the team managed to secure their investor commitments in only 3 months, demonstrating both the attractiveness of the ECF programme and of this particular fund.”

About Passion Capital:
Passion Capital was established in March 2011 by Stefan Glaenzer, Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero with the aim of becoming the premier early stage UK digital media and technology investment firm in the UK. The partners have more than 50 years’ collective experience in entrepreneurial, founding and executive operational roles in technology firms.

Stefan Glaenzer was recently named the best angel investor in Europe by readers and editors of TechCrunch Europe, and was the first investor and executive chairman of Last.fm, seeing that company through to its sale to CBS (2007 USD $270 million). Prior to that Stefan was co-founder of Ricardo.de, one of the first European online auction and classified sites, sold to QXL. (@stefanglaenzer)

Eileen Burbidge was ranked #11 in The 100 most influential technology investors in Europe according to “online social capital” by the Telegraph. She was investment director for private early stage VC firm Ambient Sound Investments, founded by the Skype founding engineers. Prior to that, Eileen was products director for both Yahoo! Answers and Skype.  (@eileentso)

Robert Dighero, recently profiled by the Financial Times, was the former CFO of QXL/Tradus plc, sold to Naspers (2008 £1 billion) having guided the company from its founding to listing on four public exchanges, and personally managing more than 15 M&A transactions. Prior to that, Robert was CFO and founding executive of AOL Europe. (@robertdighero)

The firm was awarded its ECF mandate in December 2010 and closed all of its investor commitments in fewer than 3 months for what is now the largest ECF in the programme’s history.

Passion Capital LP will be managed by Passion Capital Investments LLP, registered in England and Wales under number OC361157, which has applied to the FSA to be so authorised and regulated. Caledonia Capital Managers Limited is authorised and regulated by the FSA and is registered in Scotland under number 218683. Caledonia has been appointed interim operator of the fund, with all non-regulated activities being carried out by Passion Capital Investments until it has been regulated by the FSA after which it will take over full operation and management of Passion Capital LP.

About Capital for Enterprise Limited:
The ECF programme is intended to address a long-term structural weakness in the provision of risk capital for SMEs in the UK. Currently this gap is considered to be most severe in investments of under £2 million. ECFs are commercial funds, which bring together a combination of private and public money in order to support high growth businesses. The programme operates by providing gearing on private investments in the funds, in effect offering enhanced profits to private investors when funds are successful.
Capital for Enterprise Limited (‘CfEL’) is an asset management business that designs, implements and manages finance measures to support Small and Medium Size enterprises (‘SMEs’) across the UK. CfEL is the largest single investor in UK Early Stage Venture Capital funds and manages guarantee programmes to support bank lending.  With current investment commitments of over £550 million in 40 Venture Capital funds, together with its responsibility for the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, CfEL has over £1.1 billion in commitments, assets and liabilities directly under management.
CfEL commenced trading in April 2008 and is wholly owned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (‘BIS’).
Capital for Enterprise Ltd.  Registered in England and Wales No. 06179047.

Capital for Enterprise Fund Managers Ltd is regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England and Wales No: 06826072

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